Origins Game Fair attendance jumps 38%, still down on pre-pandemic highs

GAMA’s annual tabletop gaming convention Origins Game Fair failed to draw record crowds last week despite a marked jump in attendance compared to last year’s event.

More than 16,000 attendees visited Origins in Columbus, Ohio between June 21 and 25 this year, figures released to ICv2 show – up 38% compared to visitor numbers at the 2022 fair.

But Origins is lagging behind other major tabletop gaming events in terms of its return to pre-pandemic size. More than 20,000 people visited Origins in 2019, 22% more than attended in 2023.

A month ago the UK Games Expo, the UK’s largest hobby gaming convention, welcomed a record 32,000 visitors, blowing away the 25,704 posted in 2019, its last pre-pandemic year.

GAMA’s own GAMA Expo at the end of April this year also attracted a record crowd, with visitor numbers up more than 20% compared to 2019 – although the number of retailers attending that event were still below pre-Covid levels.

Origins had 330 exhibitors this year, ICv2 said, up 63 from 2022, and hosted 6,400 events – a huge increase on the 5,000 from last year.

Tabletop game publishers, designers and players will now turn their attention to Gen Con, the largest and longest-running game convention in the US, which opens its doors on August 3.

More than 50,000 people attended Gen Con last year – and organisers will be hoping this year’s event can outdo the 70,000 visitors who descended on the Indiana Convention Center for 2019’s convention.

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